I have only written about playing cards a few times. And when Gejus stumbled upon this September 2012 post about a playing card used as a bookmark, it turned out that I had hit upon one of his true passions. On April 1, he wrote:
"Much to my delight you finally discovered a subject that is fascinating me since 1994: secondary use of playing cards. The Ace of Clubs you did find in a book was simply used as a page marker. The kind of card (Ace) has no special meaning. Probably it was just a left over card from an incomplete deck. As from the 15th century left over playing cards have been used for about everything one can do with paper. My collection of over 4,300 reused playing cards, dating from late 1400 until present, cover over 300 forms of secondary use."Gejus also mentioned his Pinterest board about secondary uses of playing card, which you can see here. He has accumulated a fascinating collection, and he has only posted the tip of the iceberg on Pinterest. My favorites include a playing card used as a postcard (of course) and the front and back of a playing card used as an obituary notice in 1803.
After his April 1 comment, we exchanged some emails and I invited Gejus to write a guest post for Papergreat about playing cards.
Then I didn't hear from him for a month.
Then came the terrible news: Fire had devastated his 17th century farmhouse and surrounding buildings.
"Fortunately humans, animals, computers and most of the collections could be saved in time," Gejus wrote.
It will take 12-to-18 months to restore the farmhouse, he added.
I'm still trying to figure out what I can do as a gesture of support for this fellow ephemeraologist during a tough time for his whole family. Here's one small thing we can all do — go to his Pinterest board and comment with your support on one of his posted images. I hope it will mean a little something to Gejus to know that we're thinking of him.